The ALRB is spending more than $10 million to suppress the ballots of 2,600 farmworkers who voted on whether to de-certify the United Farm Workers (UFW) as their representative.
The workers at Gerawan Farming cast their ballots in 2013 in an ALRB-supervised election. ALRB immediately locked the ballots in a safe and has refused to count them.
Word is that the ALRB is deciding to destroy the ballots in order to let the UFW save face.
Here’s how a Sacramento firm calculated the ALRB’s voter-suppression budget. (Download report: ALRB Budget Memo – February 2016)
By studying the ALRB’s own figures, “we estimate that ALRB will spend nearly $10.8 million in taxpayer money on the Gerawan Farming cases from October 2013 through June 2017,” MB Public Affairs reports.
The $10.8 million, divided by the 2,600 farmworkers whom the ALRB says voted in the suppressed election, means that the ALRB under Chairman William B. Gould IV will have spent $4,141.89 for every vote it suppressed.
Here’s how the study broke down the figures
Budget Year 2013-14
- “The estimated spending for ALRB on the Gerawan Farming cases during the 2013-14 budget year can be calculated to equal $1,086,500 as shown in the table” above.
- “As of March 27, 2014, ALRB indicated on their BCP that they had already spent approximately 3,200 hours on the Gerawan Farming cases . . . and indicated . . . that during the 2013-14 budget year they anticipated spending a total of 6,687 hours on the case (4,765 attorney hours + 1,922 field examiner hours).”
- “According to page 6 of this same BCP, work on a previous case (D’Arrigo Bros.) took 2,883.5 hours and cost $468,498, or approximately $162.48 per hour.”
- “If we use the rate of $162.48 per hour as the base, which means the 6,687 hours ALRB anticipates spending on the Gerawan Farming cases in 2013 – 2014 would cost about $1,086,500 (6,687 hours x $162.48/hour).”
- “This number can also be used as the benchmark of the minimum anticipated amount ALRB will spend on the case each year going forward.”
Budget Year 2014-15
- “The estimated spending for ALRB during the 2014-15 budget year on the Gerawan Farming cases can be calculated to be $3,079,500, as shown in the table” above.
- “This is about 2.8 times as much as what ALRB spent during the previous budget year.”
- “As previously mentioned and discussed in more detail below, ALRB submitted a BCP in March 2014 to request an additional $1,993,000 in funding for the 2014-15 budget year, of which $1,448,000 is ongoing funding for increased staff and the other $545,000 is one-time costs to purchase new vehicles to transport farmworkers to hearings for the Gerawan cases.”
- “If this additional funding of $1.993 million is added to the benchmark from the prior budget year of $1,086,500, we get to the total anticipated spending by ALRB for the Gerawan Farming cases in 2014-15 of $3,079,500.”
- “According to the ALRB on Attachment F of the March 2014 BCP, they anticipate spending 16,762 hours on the Gerawan Farming cases in 2014-15 (13,010 attorney hours + 3,752 field examiner hours).”
- “This is about 2.5 times as many hours that was spent on the case during the previous year. Therefore, the anticipated increase in spending, as calculated above, is roughly equivalent to the increased amount of time ALRB anticipates spending on the Gerawan Farming cases.”
- “If we use the hourly rate calculation discussed above and the previously mentioned number of hours ALRB anticipates spending on the Gerawan Farming cases in 2014 – 2015, then the anticipated spending by ALRB for 2014-15 would be about $2,723,490 (16,762 hours x $162.48/hour).”
- “This is actually slightly more than what ALRB anticipates spending in 2014-15 once the one- time costs are subtracted ($3,079,500 – $545,000 = $2,534,500).”
- “The estimated spending for ALRB during the 2015-16 budget year on the Gerawan Farming cases is at least $3,301,462, as shown in the table” above.
- “As previously mentioned, the March 2014 BCP included $1,448,000 in ongoing funding during future budget years to pay for the increased staff needed to handle the workload as a result of the Gerawan Farming cases.”
- “Therefore, if this additional ongoing funding is added to the benchmark from the prior budget year of $1,086,500, we get to the figure of $2,534,500 in baseline spending by ALRB for the Gerawan Farming cases for the 2015-16 budget year.”
- “Additional funding of $766,962 for the 2015-16 budget year was requested by ALRB in their January 2015 BCP that can be attributed to the workload for the Gerawan Farming cases (as detailed in the following two bullet points below). If this is added to the prior baseline spending (see previous bullet point) we get total anticipated spending of $3,301,462 for the 2015 – 2016 budget year ($1,086,500 + $1,448,000 + $766,962).”
- “As discussed in more detail below, the overall budget for ALRB in 2015-16 has increased significantly. In response to a Public Records Act request, the Department of Finance provided a January 2015 BCP submitted by ALRB for the 2015-16 budget year.”
- “Part of the increased funding requested is for other regional offices not involved with the Gerawan Farming cases. This includes funding for additional staff positions and administrative costs.”
- “Only the funding needs for some increased staff costs and hiring new positions could be attributed to the Gerawan Farming cases. This was used to calculate what portion of the January 2015 BCP could be attributed to this workload.”
“Additional administrative costs requested by ALRB in the January 2015 BCP could not be clearly attributed to the Gerawan Farming cases and therefore was not used to calculate the total anticipated spending.”
- “A review of the January 2015 BCP shows that at least four staff positions and $766,962 of the overall increase can be attributed to Gerawan for the 2015-16 budget year. ($44,500 for staff services analyst + $216,000 for two ALJs + $116,000 for attorney + $390,462 for benefits = $766,962). These relevant portions are discussed below and highlighted in the attached January 2015 BCP.”
- “ALRB requested funding for an additional staff services analyst in the Visalia branch (the branch that handles the Gerawan Farming cases). This is at a cost of $44,500 per year. ($89,000 total was requested for two staff services positions, because only one position is for Visalia and thereby the Gerawan Farming cases, this number was divided by two)
- “ALRB requested funding for two additional Administrative Law Judges (Hearing Officers) because the only current full-time ALJ employed by ALRB is assigned to the Gerawan Farming cases and will be occupied through at least June 2016. This is at a cost of $216,000 per year.
- “ALRB requested funding for an additional Attorney IV to address the litigation workload, primarily related to the Appellate cases. This is at a cost of $116,000 per year. As discussed more below, this is largely to handle the workload of attorney time redirected from the Attorney General’s office. This appears to be the first mention of other agencies putting resources towards the Gerawan Farming cases. However, the January 2015 BCP gives no indication of what the cost for the AG’s time was or what agency bore these costs. Therefore, none of these potential prior costs have been included in the above chart.
- “Finally, ALRB requested an additional $1,269,000 for staff benefits for all 13 thirteen of the new positions. Of this amount, about $390,462 can be attributed to the previously mentioned four staff positions hired to handle the workload for the Gerawan Farming cases ($1,269,000/13 = $97,615.38 x 4 = $390,461.54)”
Budget Year 2016-17
- “The estimated spending for ALRB during the 2016-17 budget year on the Gerawan Farming cases is at least $3,301,462, as shown in the table” above.
- “There were no additional BCPs showing that ALRB requested additional funding, so it is assumed that spending on Gerawan-related issues will remain constant from the prior year.”
There is much more to this document, which we will cover in other articles. To view the original document, click here: ALRB Budget Memo – February 2016